Northern Cyprus leader: U.S. understands

May 6, 2004 at 2:46 PM

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Turkish Cypriots wait for a response from the international community to their "yes" vote in the failed unification referendum, their leader said Thursday.

Mehmet Ali Talat told United Press International that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed open to easing some of the restrictions against northern Cyprus.

"We put our case forward," he said. "We observed that he understood our case."

Talat said he did not ask for the recognition of his Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognizes. He said he sought an end to the isolation, freedom of movement and an end to trade restrictions.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 following a Turkish invasion of the northern part of the island after fears that Greek Cypriots were planning to join Greece.

Although Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly supported reunification in a U.N. referendum held late last month, Greek Cypriots rejected it, opting to join the European Union alone.

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